Who Is Considered Homeless?

The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children and youth as:

1) Children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, including children and youth who are:

  • Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason
  • Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, cars, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, camping grounds or similar settings due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations
  • Living in emergency or transitional shelters
  • Abandoned in hospitals

2) Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above.

3) Unaccompanied youth, including any youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian, such as runaways, youth denied housing by their families, and school-age unwed mothers, living in homes for unwed mothers, who have no other housing available.